Thursday, March 20, 2014

MH370: Where Are You?

Twelve days have passed since flight MH370 went missing, and 26 nations struggle to search for the airliner over a humongous area that is as big as Australia or more than two-thirds the size of the US of A.
Here in Malaysia, we have a funny way of doing things. In a search-and-rescue operation, the idea is to work toward narrowing the size of the area we are combing, not expanding it many times over!
The search area originally focussed on the body of water between Malaysia and Vietnam. MH370 which was about 40 minutes into the flight (approximately 90 nautical miles, northeast of Kota Bharu, Malaysia) over the Gulf of Thailand in contact with Subang Center (Malaysia) and just about to be handed off to Ho Chi Minh Air Traffic Control Center (Vietnam) when radar and radio contact was lost at about 01:22 AM (March 07). [Subang Air Traffic Control Center officially told the airline only at around 02:40 AM (March 07) that the MAS plane was missing].
Soon after, the search area was extended to include the Straits of Malacca – looking at the possibility that the aircraft may have turned back and diverted to Subang (Malaysia) and soon after, they were even looking at Langkawi (Malaysia) and beyond.

[On March 12, 2014, Rodzali Daud, the RMAF chief claimed a dot plotted on military radar at 2:15 AM, 200 miles north-west of Penang island off Malaysia's west coast at the northern tip of the Straits of Malacca and the Malaysian authorities took it as that belonging to MH370].

This map released by Malaysian officials shows two red lines representing the possible locations from which Flight 370 sent its last hourly transmission to a satellite at 8:11 AM on March 08, more than seven hours after it took off from KLIA, and when the plane would most likely have been running low on fuel. Credit :Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Image credit:

Thereafter, we requested India to investigate the Andaman Sea and that soon widened even more to embrace the Indian Ocean beyond Andaman Islands to the west . And just to be on the safe side, we also widened the search further east into the South China Sea.
The way Malaysia has been handling these investigations, it is a matter of time before we start to look elsewhere for MH370! We just refuse to admit that we are totally clueless and this SAR is already looking like we are on a wild goose chase!
Anyway, this leaves us with just a couple of oceans that we have yet to begin looking.

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